In honor of Domestic Violence ACTION Month I’ll be blogging all month about what it takes to end domestic violence. It is our view (at the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence) that to prevent violence we need to:
Last week I wrote about root causes. This week let’s look at shifting culture. How do we do that?
Ultimately we want to challenge our communities to reject all types of violence while at the same time expecting that all people will be treated with respect in their relationships. I know it sounds a little “pie in the sky.” But in our everyday lives, there are simple things we can do to shift culture:
- Instead of asking, “Why don’t victims just leave?” we could ask, “What can we do to stop abusers from being violent and controlling?”
- Instead of telling women how not to get raped, we could point out that only rapists can prevent rape.
- Instead of saying, “I can’t imagine he would do such a thing, he’s so nice,” we could say, “What must it have been like to be with him behind closed doors? Let’s ask her.”
- Instead of telling little girls, “He must really like you if he hit you,” we could say “Violence is never a way to show love.”
- Instead of asking what someone did to set someone off, we say, “You didn’t deserve that, how can I help?”
- Instead of throwing our hands up in the air over teenagers’ relationships, let’s dive in and ask them how it’s going.
- Instead of thinking that domestic violence is inevitable, we can embrace our huge capacity for love and compassion and learn to Love Like This.
All of these seem doable to me. They aren’t “pie in the sky”—they are right there in front of us, like pie on our plates! Can you commit to making a culture shift this month? Let’s try it and move forward. Together we can end domestic violence!